The Terrace at Ground the Venue is a must-do lunch outing

01 Jul 2024
If you’ve been thinking of a reason to visit Ground the Venue in Muldersdrift, we can think of a few. We recently (June 2024) spent a day exploring this farm venue that makes for a delightful day trip out of the city (about a 50-minute drive from the City Centre) and left feeling refreshed and inspired.

We loved the whole place – from drinking coffee at Ground Café to exploring the gorgeous spaces that lend themselves to pop-up events, picnics under the open skies, and grand affairs – but there’s one aspect that really stuck with us: lunch at The Terrace.

We’ll set the scene. Imagine stepping foot inside a restaurant that has an ocean-side feel, a tranquil environment with cushioned seats in sandy tones, blond wood tables, large windows set inside white plastered walls, and verdant foliage painting the earthy tones with a splash of green. Then there are the table settings that include oyster shells cradling salt and pepper and artistically designed plates perfect for sharing a tapas-style meal. The only thing missing is the sound of the ocean, but there is plenty to make up for that. 
The Mediterranean-inspired The Terrace at Ground the Venue. Photo: Supplied.

This is the appeal of The Terrace. You can almost picture yourself settling in somewhere along the Amalfi coast – or perhaps sliding into a booth on a picturesque Greek island, for that matter – for a “long lunching” afternoon. The Mediterranean-inspired menu beckons time spent indulging, and catching up over delicious shared plates and tasty drinks.

It was with a fierce appetite that we took our seats for lunch. When the affable Stephen Mokaiwa offered us bread and dips for starters, we couldn’t start feasting soon enough. Pita bread found the perfect accompaniment with an airy hummus, creamy whipped feta, and melitzonsalata made with aubergine and a hint of garlic. 
Small details set the scene. Photo: Sanet Oberholzer.

It was just what we needed for the task ahead: choosing a dazzling assortment of sharing plates for the main part of the meal. For this part, it’s best to go as a big group. We can guarantee you’ll want a taste of everything on the menu, from vegetarian dishes to seafood, chicken, beef, and lamb (there is something for every dietary preference).

We’re nothing if not committed in our pursuit of sampling as much as possible to bring you the best reviews and soon found our table scarcely big enough for the plates Mokaiwa started piling before us. Fragrant braised fennel, crispy kataifi prawns, rich moules-frites, dolmades, lamb chops, parmesan-sprinkled cauliflower perched on butter beans, succulent chicken souvlaki, and a heaving plate of decadent truffle mayo fries. Each dish cooked perfectly and relished for its moreish quality. We’ll be the first to admit that we may have over-ordered, but we did not dare let a single prawn or mussel go to waste.
The delicious whipped feta dip. Photo: Sanet Oberholzer.

The kitchen is headed by Chef David Mathabathe who worked a few stints at various hotels and lodges but seems to have found his place at Ground. “I’m loving it here,” he told us when we asked for a quick word after lunch. It’s not hard to imagine why. We loved the lunch he and his team prepared for us and had only one regret. We didn’t try his two favourite dishes on the menu: lamb shank and rib-eye steak with chimichurri sauce. 

Mathabathe doesn’t claim praise for the menu, though. For that, we have Nicci Campbell (the event, wedding, marketing manager and co-ordinator at Ground) and her wife, Robyn Campbell, to thank. The pair love to travel and the dishes on the menu reflect their favourite food discovered on past adventures. The Greek influence comes from Robyn’s sister-in-law, Callie Cronjé’s, Greek heritage, while the Spanish and Italian influence comes down to their affinity for spending time in these countries. “Simple dishes done really well,” is how Campbell explains it. “And we’re not scared of a cocktail.” It's a story that adds to the picture of the success of the Cronjé family who have built Ground The Venue as a family venture.
A table set for a feast! Photo: Sanet Oberholzer.

We committed the cardinal sin of overindulging and not leaving room for dessert. It was a blow as the baklava ice-cream sounded terribly tempting at the start of lunch. We settled on returning at a later date for this – and sampling the lush-looking cocktail menu Campbell cheekily pointed out. It was a work day after all. Instead, we were urged to order desserts for a takeaway and opted for luscious cake slices – carrot cake and cheesecake – from Ground Café.

The Terrace is a great spot for celebrating a special occasion. More than an appetising menu and inviting atmosphere, it makes for an excellent day trip. Before or after lunch we suggest you take a long walk and explore the many garden areas of the property. We think it's also the kind of place where you'll want to return. 


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